By Temitope Adedeji, Akure
In a carnival-like event at the premises of the newly-built Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Asiwaju Bọlá Tinubu, on Saturday inaugurated the state Revenue House.
He commended Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for remarkable performance and lauded all the aspirants that came out to contest against him in the build-up to the party’s primaries and later stepped down for their spirit of sportsmanship.
He said that nothing could be done in an atmosphere of rancour and disunity and therefore urged them to rally round the governor for victory in the October 10 election.
In his speech, Asiwaju Tinubu said: “This fine, well- built and excellent structure, the Ondo State Internal Revenue Service Building, which we are opening here today, bears evidence to the visionary leadership of Governor Akeredolu. I commend him for this necessary yet courageous initiative.
“Since he came on board in 2016, the governor has had his hands on the plough, recording one milestone after another. Among the laudable projects he has launched is the Ore Industrial Hub which was commissioned by President Buhari.
“That industrial hub will bring needed employment and economic development to the deserving people living in the Ore vicinity. Step by step, project by project, industrial hub by industrial hub is how we construct the foundation for durable progress and prosperity. Governor Akeredolu has done more than talk development; he has dedicated himself and his government to bringing development to this state.
“A key part of his development plans is the prudent and progressive agricultural empowerment programme. That programme is much like the very crops it seeks to produce and raise for the benefit of the people. You plant a seed that it may grow into a plant that will feed the people. Yet even in the most fertile soil, it will take some time for the seed to grow and take root. However, when that seed does take root, it serves to nourish and feed a multitude. The agric empowerment programme is an investment in your collective ability to grow what you need and to establish the state’s economy as a catalyst for growth.
“Focusing on agriculture in a bid to free our economy from an undue dependence on oil is the path we must take. The programme expresses the governor’s confidence in the people. Governor Akeredolu is to be commended for leading the state along this intelligent path. As such, you should repose even greater confidence in him. There is no doubt that Ondo State will be better for it at the end of the day. He has also embarked on important social welfare programmes.
“In my discussions with him, I was impressed by his strong commitment to develop a functional healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the wisdom of his viewpoint for we must do more to improve our public health system. Your governor has pledged to establish an efficient system where all the people in this state will be given clear access to basic health care. If we are truly intent on forming a progressive society, the government must lead the way in providing fundamental health care to those who cannot afford it themselves.
“But these laudable projects and ideas can only be realized in an atmosphere of unity of vision and action. Indeed, the governor cannot push forward nor can the state advance if there is division and dissension among us. Unity and adherence to collective purpose are hallmarks of progressive politics.
“Our ability to place the public welfare above our personal ambitions is what differentiates us from the political regressives who would rather that the general welfare suffer so they can fulfil their personal whims and wishes.
“As progressives, we must carefully tend to our bridge of unity. We must never allow it to break. We entered politics and governance to serve the people and this purpose should always bind us in ceaseless fraternity and togetherness. All true progressives must work towards this fertile unity and sustain that unity. With it we can achieve the great things we see for this state and this nation. We can build a progressive society for ourselves and our children. Without that unity, we will forever be in a blinding fog, so much so that we will be fighting friend and foe alike because we will be too confused to know the difference between the two. This is no path to greatness. It is the path to stagnation,
“Lets us commit ourselves to progressive unity to bring forth a progressive society. There is no other way for this nation to go. We must bring all our people back under the same progressive tent. Our creed is one of public service. This service is blind to region, religion, ethnic group or place of origin.
“We seek prosperity, safety, hope and the tranquil enjoyment of life for everyone, for all Nigerians. No one is to be denied. No one is laid low or shunted aside. No one is to be broken. Those who have been broken or forgotten are to be welcomed and care for. Those in need are to be comforted and helped. This is what the APC is and what the APC shall always be.
“For us as progressives, tribalism and sectionalism are not part of our working vocabulary. Those are the words of yesterday. We all must work together and forge ahead as one if we are to attain the country’s overall development goals.
“It is against this context, that my actions regarding Ondo must be weighed. The governor had shown that he wanted genuine reconciliation among party members in the state. As part of this trust-building process, the governor was asked to extend a hand of fellowship to those who felt aggrieved and to embrace all the leaders within the state chapter of the party so that our progressive front would again be solid and strong.
“Here, I must offer a confession. When some of our members sought to reach me before the primaries to raise questions regarding Governor Akeredolu, I made myself unavailable. I did not do this to hurt or insult anyone. Here I ask that none of you be offended. I did this because I know the depth of character and the high quality of the leaders of this state’s chapter. You are all my brothers in whom I repose greater confidence.
“Thus, I knew that you all would work all important things out among yourselves. And, with but a little nudging and encouragement from me and others, you would reach the point where reconciliation would begin. True to my high estimation of your principles and political astuteness, you all began to reach out to each other and work together toward a common and good cause – the continuance of progressive governance in Ondo under the banner of the APC.
“I thank God that such a number of excellent and wide leaders are in our party. As such, Governor Akeredolu is the first among equals which means all of you must continue to dialogue and the door of consultation must remain open that our governor in his second term can rely on our collective wisdom to bring even more improvement to the state.
“Today, we have a united All Progressives Congress in Ondo. United toward achieving victory in the governorship election. United in the developmental work that must be done after the election. I would be remiss if I fail to thank Baba Olanusi and other members of the now-defunct Unity Forum for their commitment to the party and for so firmly believing in what we stand for.
“I also commend all the governorship aspirants who came to endorse Governor Akeredolu for a second term. Permit me to mention them by name for they desire our accolades and even more.
“Mrs Jumoke Anifowose and Nat Adojutelegan have also indicated their readiness to withdraw their cases from court. I thank former Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde aka Abena, who came back to us and who agreed to work for Governor Akeredolu’s re-election.
“I cannot thank all of you enough. We are in this battle together, more importantly, we are one the same side of it. The fight is not only to ensure the re-election of Governor Akeredolu but to establish a progressive government where we are capable of doing so. In this manner, we achieve continued progress and development in our country through patriotic and visionary leadership. In this manner, we establish a progressive society.
“With these words, may I now inaugurate the Ondo State Revenue House that will help generate the revenues necessary for the development of the state for the good of its people. I thank you all.”